Opens: 1954, 1961, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1983, 1991, 1998, 2008
Location: Southport, Merseyside, England
Royal Birkdale sits on a stretch of beautiful linksland which runs almost uninterrupted for 20 miles north of Liverpool. The course was first established in 1889, but was extensively redesigned in 1922 by Fred Hawtree and J. H. Taylor to create the current layout, which winds its way through the sand dunes towering over each of the fairways.
The Open was originally due to visit Royal Birkdale in 1940, but the advent of war delayed this until 1954; since then, however, the course has been (alongside Royal Lytham) the most regular venue for the Championship other than St Andrews, and the 2008 Open marked the ninth visit of the event to the Merseyside links.
|Birkdale at a glance|
|Course length (2008 Open)|
7,173 yards, par 71
Padraig Harrington came to the 71st hole in 2008 nursing a slender lead in tough conditions, but his sublime 5-wood to three foot set up an eagle that secured him his second successive Open Championship.
At Birkdale’s first Open, Peter Thomson won the first of three Opens in succession; he returned to the same course in 1965 to add his fifth and final title. Arnold Palmer’s victory in 1961 is recognised as the turning point in the fortunes of The Open, giving new life and international impact to the championship. Almost every time the Championship has visited Birkdale it has been a multiple Major winner who has lifted the Claret Jug, with successes by Lee Trevino (1971), Johnny Miller (1976), Tom Watson (1983), Mark O’Meara (1998) and most recently Ireland’s Padraig Harrington (2008). Australian Ian Baker-Finch, who won The Open here in 1991, remains the only Birkdale victor never to have lifted another Major trophy.